Ok, it’s only Wednesday but we’re planning ahead. The forecast looks great for Friday and Saturday. With highs close to 60 degrees, there should be some great stonefly action.
What’s that mean for fishing? Dry little black stoneflies and nymphs will be a safe bet but the warm water will be getting bugs of all types stirring. They’ll be moving around in search of the perfect place to take off for their upcoming emergences. Employing wet flies and small streamers (think small wooly buggers and Pax Specials) will bring spring strikes out of the slack water and seams. Don’t forget to wing a wet fly through shallow riffles before crossing the streams and slashing through! I’ve spooked a dozen or more fish out of what seemed like 8” of water while heading to “the good water”. It’s a lesson that’s hard to learn.
In short: fish it all! Don’t be afraid to switch flies often and switch that tippet out when you need to float or sink faster. Can’t escape till Sunday when the forecast looks wet? Grab that rain jacket and hit it anyway. The fish should be active.
Keep your boots in the water!
Micah and the Knee Deep Team
A fat rainbow from the Patuxent River last week
This morning I thought I’d be over dressed for fishing. I started my day south of the Big Gunpowder in 50+ weather and ended at 34 degrees with rain and snow flakes. I know we just have to hang in there for a couple more weeks and we’ll be fishing in t-shirts. – Micah
For anglers, this is the time of the winter when cabin fever starts to take hold. Maybe it’s when we’re in the car in the mornings and we notice we now need sunglasses again rather than headlights. For the hardcore trout bums, perhaps they notice the dog is waiting for them to get up and get moving. Whatever it is, we know spring is coming. We just have to hold on!
If you didn’t make it to Somerset, NJ for The Fly Fishing Show, you’ve got another chance to get your fix. The crew is on their way to Lancaster, PA for the weekend of March 2nd/3rd. I’ll be there tying and telling even bigger fish stories (it’s been a long winter) and hope to see some of you there.
The next weekend, March 9th, is Lefty Kreh’s “Tie Fest” closer to home in Grasonville, MD with the gang from CCA Maryland. This one is going to be pretty cool. It’s the region’s best tiers and guides getting together to share what’s coming out the jaws of their vises. There’s even a bar so you can buy them a beer and try to get them to let go of a few secrets. I’ll be tying there too so be sure and stop in for an hour or two just to say hello.
Looking forward to these two events should help to ease the pain of winter. Last year the stoneflies were climbing out of the water by the second week of March so there’s an end in sight!
Warm weather this week has water temps hitting 43 on the Gunpowder Falls river gauges and the weekend looks great. We’re crossing our fingers for 45! Here at Knee Deep we are big fans of Foote’s forecast for Maryland. It’s spot on for the Baltimore/DC area. While they are calling for a warm weekend – maybe some stonefly action – there’s a cold blast out to the West that’ll bring winter right back to us. Thanks to the folks at Gentner Consutling for turning us on to that Foote’s!
So what’s that mean for the fishing? It means you’ll need to get back to dredging nymphs with a hat and gloves. Not your cup of tea? Don’t have a hat and gloves? Get yourself to one of the upcoming expos put on by the folks at The Fly Fishing Show!
As a youth, I made a trip every season to the Somerset, NJ show with my father and brothers. It was a great chance to catch up with old friends in the isles and meeting the folks rewriting the book on fly fishing was inspiring. I’d go home with bags of hackles and threads with a refreshed enthusiasm for tying flies and rod building and spend the following weeks of winter in the basement with my family tying flies and building up for the warm weather to come. I recall a few icy trips to the Ken Lockwood Gorge with newly built rods in hand and Korkers on our feet just to get close to the water’s edge. I also recall snapping at least one on a frozen maiden voyage!
As a young fly-tier, The Fly Fishing Show was a chance for me to spend a weekend asking every question under the sun and shake the tying tables of guys like Bob Clouser and Bob Popovics; heroes to a kid who grew up fishing the surf. I’d run into the gang from my local TU chapter and ask the advice of my older fishing and tying friends about which necks to buy and dig through mountains of materials just looking for the perfect new thing that would catch me more fish. It was a great opportunity for a kid like me and the trip to Somerset became a pilgrimage for my family.
This year will be a great chance to catch up with friends at Somerset, NJ (Jan 25-27th) and at Lancaster, PA (Mar 2-3rd). Yours truly will by tying flies at both shows and can’t wait. I’m looking forward to seeing lots of old familiar faces at both shows. With any luck they’ll put me next to someone like NJ ‘s Matt Grobert and my table will get some overflow traffic.
Get out there this weekend if you can and get planning now for the Fly Fishing shows coming to the area. Don’t miss the chance to fill your winter with fly fishing!
Keep your tip on the water,
I tried hard to show off that fly but the fish were a little too hungry!
Armed with a new fly pattern, I set out to get a picture of it hanging from the corner of a fish’s mouth. I was sure it would work but who really knows when it comes to new flies. There were plenty of fish willing to hook themselves but nearly every one was hooked in a manner that wouldn’t allow for a photo of the fly. One large fish even broke off, stealing the fly I was trying to get shots of. It was laughable. How could I be angry that the fish were taking my fly? Years ago someone told me “you can fish, or take pictures, but it’s hard to do both.” That same person told me the old photographer’s joke “…if you want to take better pictures, get better looking friends.”
Of course, there were only 4 flies tied and that’s never enough if it’s the one that’s working. With 2 in the trees or on the bottom, and 1 in a fish, the rest of the afternoon was spent casting with less boldness. You can bet a dozen or two will get turned out at the vise this week. As for the photos, I may just have to settle for a picture of it in the vise.
Let’s go fishing!
Micah & The Knee Deep Team
The banks of the Big Gunpowder look a little different after the high water.
After Hurricane Sandy and the nearly 3,000cfs spike in flows, the banks of the Big gunpowder look a little different. While the high water changes the look of a river and can be hard on its aquatic life, these too-frequent epic-high-water events are a good chance to study the life of the river. Those of us who spend a lot of time on the water are familiar with its banks and the contours of its runs. There’s nothing like walking and wading your favorite stretches and discovering new runs and log-jams if you’ve been bitten hard by the fishing bug.
Some insect sampling revealed lots of caddis and mayflies holding tight to the rocks and a few midges. One thing we discovered is a lot of olive mayflies. We’ve always fished dark brown and olive Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ears and treating yourself to an olive hare’s mask would be $5 well spent if you tie your own. The midges that were netted were more cream and green than any of the red or black varieties. Super tiny and active in a sampling bin, they were hard to photograph. We shot a few through some stacked lenses and will think skinnier and longer in the future. A size 16 curved hook with tan thread will be in the box this winter.
We netted a few midges and quite a few snails!
Headed out this week? Think deep and set the hook every time your strike indicator stalls even for a moment.
Keep your boots clean,
The Knee Deep Team
Here at Knee Deep Headquarters, we’re happy to report that Sandy missed us by a hair. Sadly our pals up in NJ and NYC got the worst of it. Rain came and went, and by Friday, flows on The Big Gunpowder were down to fishable levels. At 260 CFS, wading was still tough but the water was clear and the fish were aggressive. The photo below is of a popular pool and the evidence is in the undergrowth as to how high the water came up.
The shame here is these leaves are food for the insects the trout need to survive. The Gunpowder is an interesting study in water management. The river took a hit last fall in the form of hurricane floods and somehow bounced back. We can, at a minimum, be grateful for a Didymo flush.
Leaves in the undregrowth are proof the water rose well over the banks.
The week ahead looks like a great one for fishing if you can get out. We’ll be crossing our fingers with reports of a Nor-Easter coming through. The flows are still dropping and fish are eagerly chasing big streamers when the sun is out; see the photo below of the fat fish that took a monster bugger! Nymphing through the tail-outs and around log jams should continue to produce. Last week a mixed bag of nymphs proved effective – from caddis to stoneflies and zebra-midges – and getting down into the flow fast seemed to be the key to success.
Looking to get out? Give Knee Deep Fly Fishing a call and we’ll show you how to keep up with the changing seasons!
We’ll take fat-tailed fish like this one any day!
With Hurricane Sandy on the way, if you can skip work and hit the water Friday and Saturday, you won’t regret it. The forecast is for 40mph winds and heavy rain. The fall foliage will soon be gone but this will speed things up.
Stoneflies and caddis larve in the riffles will produce and streamers on the seams and near downfalls are a good bet. When your indicator rig tangles, it’s worth tying on a streamer and making a few swings before you re-tie your rig. The fish below fell for a big tan steamer after countless drifts with nymphs couldn’t lure him out from his log.
Get your feet in the water this weekend!
The Knee Deep Team
Low sun but great fall colors await before Sandy hits!
This fish took a big streamer after rejecting a number of nymphs.
While the hot weather eases-up occasionally, it never seems to go away this July. Knee Deep Fly Fishing is here to help you cool off. Right now is the perfect time to ditch the waders and sport those wading-boots with a pair of neoprene booties and get cool in a tail-water like The Big Gunpowder. While your fishing friends may be driving north to New England the water is running in the 50’s here in Maryland.
Staying cool and getting her hands wet!
Outings in the last few weeks have required a lot of patience later in the day (see article about tubing here) but a great assortment of trout-feed has the fish looking up. Caddis, Tricos, beetles and grasshoppers have all fooled trout while anglers kept cool. Big terrestrials fished with a “Fast Caddis” for a dropper have been a winning combo in the riffles. We’ve seen lots of anglers catch their first fly-rod trout in the last few weeks and had quite a few laughs at the tubers floating by. While a few days topped out around 100 degrees, time on the water has been time well spent.
Give Knee Deep Fly Fishing, LLC a call and we can help you find the fish and escape the heat of the city!
Proof that trout make people smile!